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New Lightning Lane Adjustment Reveals Disney Knows Genie Isn’t Working

Whether you use it – and love it – or avoid it entirely, Disney Genie has become an established feature of our Disney Park experience.

At Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks, the Disney Genie tool has changed the face of the beloved FastPass system, bringing with it a whole range of opinions from Disney Guests.

Now, Disney’s new fine print addition has raised eyebrows as to how Disney perceives its own service – and lowering Guest expectations in the process.

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Back on October 19, 2021, Disney Genie officially launched on the My Disney Experience app at Walt Disney World, along with Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane access, the new paid iteration of what was previously the FastPass service.

Guests have been debating about how much screen time is now required to manage a theme park day at Walt Disney World. Walt’s vision was to have Guests leave reality and enter a world of fantasy, but being glued to phones all day trying to get Lightning Lane reservations definitely keeps Guests in the “reality” of phone chargers, internet service, and planning stress.

With all the digital services at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort, including MagicMobile, My Disney Experience, maps, Mobile Orders, wait times, virtual queues and now Disney Genie, Guests have to use their cellphones a lot while trying to enjoy the magic.

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With new technology to help Guests plan their day, the digital tool has been suffering controversy following its launch last year. From sold-out attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Galaxy’s Edge to app stalls and failures on their phones, Guests have been quick to judge the system as substandard to the original FastPass system.

Guests have argued that the spontaneous nature of going to a Disney Park has been taken away, turning what should be a fun Disney vacation into a stressor. And alongside the new Park Pass Reservation system, trying to get a Lightning Lane reservation on Disney Genie+ has been a top issue for many Guests at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Waking up at 7 a.m. to try and secure decent timeslots for a Disney Genie ride, followed by constant refreshers every 2 hours to get another reservation, means many Guests are left disappointed with not many Disney Genie reservations.

And now, Walt Disney World has added a new line in the fine print of its Genie+ website, as revealed by Scott Gustin on Twitter:

Walt Disney World added a new line to the Genie+ Lightning Lane website: “On average, guests can enter 2 to 3 attractions or experiences per day using the Lightning Lane entrance if the first selection is made early in the day.”

Disney is seemingly setting lower expectations for its Disney Genie service – which appears to highlight that Disney knows its new Disney Park FastPass system is not working.

Telling Guests that they’ll probably only get “2 to 3 attractions or experiences per day using the Lightning Lane entrance if the first selection is made early in the day” showcases a knowing limit to how the service works, especially after a lot of complaints due to the cost.

At Walt Disney World, the Genie+ feature costs an extra $15 per person, per day, with Individual Lightning Lanes costing more.

FastPass was obviously free and Guests could often get multiple FastPasses per day, and for the same ride. Disney Genie+ does not offer the option to ride the same attraction more than once, which adds another disappointment.

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Individual Lightning Lane attractions that have to be paid for separately often sell out, and Disney has already made changes recently to Disney Genie to account for crowds. Walt Disney World has hit capacity lately with Park Pass Reservations sold out in advance and so from February 25, Disney moved three popular attractions to Disney Genie+ from the Individual Lightning Lane experience list.

Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom, Frozen Ever After at EPCOT, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Disney’s Hollywood Studios are all now a part of the standard $15 a day per Guest Disney Genie+ service.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and Avatar Flight of Passage are all still Lightning Lane attractions. As it is still undergoing refurbishment, we’re not sure yet about Expedition Everest’s status.

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Scott Gustin goes on to reveal that Disneyland does not lower Guest expectations in this way:

FWIW, the Disneyland website does not include this line — it says: “When you take your day to the next level by purchasing Disney Genie+ service, you can select the next available arrival window for Lightning Lane entrances at select attractions, one at a time, all day long.”

One issue Disney Genie appears to have is that to get more money, Disney Parks oversells Disney Genie+. There likely needs to be a cap on Genie+ sales, to limit the number of people who can join the Lightning Lane queue and avoid the standby wait time.

Another reason for this new fine print could be to avoid Disney having to offer refunds at its theme park Guest Relations locations. Many Guests have been disappointed with the service and asking for refunds on their $15 purchase due to not getting many rides. Telling Guests that they may only get “2 or 3” rides on Disney Genie+ is Disney’s way of avoiding paying these refunds.

It will be interesting to see what comes next for Disney Genie and Lightning Lane, particularly when Guests believe that new Disney CEO Bob Chapek is continuously after ways to get more money from theme park Guests.

The bottom line is that Disney knows that trying to manage reservations, Mobile Orders, Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane throughout the day can be distracting, overwhelming, and confusing for many new Walt Disney World Guests.

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who loves to enjoy Disney's theme parks with a Mickey Premium Bar in hand! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her Air Force pilot husband. Find her children's book at @thebearandthehug_book